Madame des Grassins was one of those lively, plump little women, withpink-and-white skins, who, thanks to the claustral calm of theprovinces and the habits of a virtuous life, keep their youth untilthey are past forty. She was like the last rose of autumn,--pleasantto the eye, though the petals have a certain frostiness, and theirperfume is slight. She dressed well, got her fashions from Paris, setthe tone to Saumur, and gave parties. Her husband, formerly aquartermaster in the Imperial guard, who had been desperately woundedat Austerlitz, and had since retired, still retained, in spite of hisrespect for Grandet, the seeming frankness of an old soldier."Good evening, Grandet," he said, holding out his hand and affecting asort of superiority, with which he always crushed the Cruchots."Mademoiselle," he added, turning to Eugenie, after bowing to MadameGrandet, "you are always beautiful and good, and truly I do not knowwhat to wish you." So saying, he offered her a little box which hisservant had brought and which contained a Cape heather,--a flowerlately imported into Europe and very rare. clip in hair extensions cheap
Madame des Grassins kissed Eugenie very affectionately, pressed herhand, and said: "Adolphe wishes to make you my little offering."A tall, blond young man, pale and slight, with tolerable manners andseemingly rather shy, although he had just spent eight or ten thousandfrancs over his allowance in Paris, where he had been sent to studylaw, now came forward and kissed Eugenie on both cheeks, offering hera workbox with utensils in silver-gilt,--mere show-case trumpery, inspite of the monogram E.G. in gothic letters rather well engraved,which belonged properly to something in better taste. As she openedit, Eugenie experienced one of those unexpected and perfect delightswhich make a young girl blush and quiver and tremble with pleasure.She turned her eyes to her father as if to ask permission to acceptit, and Monsieur Grandet replied: "Take it, my daughter," in a tonewhich would have made an actor illustrious. remy hair
The three Cruchots felt crushed as they saw the joyous, animated lookcast upon Adolphe des Grassins by the heiress, to whom such richeswere unheard-of. Monsieur des Grassins offered Grandet a pinch ofsnuff, took one himself, shook off the grains as they fell on theribbon of the Legion of honor which was attached to the button-hole ofhis blue surtout; then he looked at the Cruchots with an air thatseemed to say, "Parry that thrust if you can!" Madame des Grassinscast her eyes on the blue vases which held the Cruchot bouquets,looking at the enemy's gifts with the pretended interest of asatirical woman. At this delicate juncture the Abbe Cruchot left thecompany seated in a circle round the fire and joined Grandet at thelower end of the hall. As the two men reached the embrasure of thefarthest window the priest said in the miser's ear: "Those peoplethrow money out of the windows."
"What does that matter if it gets into my cellar?" retorted the oldwine-grower.
"If you want to give gilt scissors to your daughter, you have themeans," said the abbe.
"I give her something better than scissors," answered Grandet."My nephew is a blockhead," thought the abbe as he looked at thepresident, whose rumpled hair added to the ill grace of his browncountenance. "Couldn't he have found some little trifle which costmoney?"
"We will join you at cards, Madame Grandet," said Madame des Grassins."We might have two tables, as we are all here."
"As it is Eugenie's birthday you had better play loto all together,"said Pere Grandet: "the two young ones can join"; and the old cooper,who never played any game, motioned to his daughter and Adolphe."Come, Nanon, set the tables."
"We will help you, Mademoiselle Nanon," said Madame des Grassinsgaily, quite joyous at the joy she had given Eugenie.